Spider-Man: The Venom Agenda

Background

Basically this is a setup story leading into "Venom: Finale", the last Venom limited series and vaulting Venom back to the Spider-Man villain status. Written by Larry Hama with visual goodies by Tom Lyle, Robert Jones and Steve Oliff.

Story Details

Eddie Brock (Venom), and secret agent for a covert government overreach committee is ordered to do "something" (wink, nudge, wink) about J. Jonah Jameson for his probing of Bastion and other aspects of Operation Zero Tolerance (see the X- series books for more on that). Lucky for Jonah, he has already called an ailing Peter Parker out of bed for a special scoop. Peter stops Venom from killing Jonah then gets into his costume. Jonah attempt to bargain with Brock for Spider-Man's "little secret" but ends up getting tossed out a window. Spider-Man fights past Venom and saves Jonah at the very last moment.

Meanwhile, secret agent Smith realizes that Venom isn't going to scare Jonah but kill him and Mary Jane appears on the scene with a strobe Peter forget to bring with him. Spider-Man and Venom trade blows on a partially constructed high-rise while Smith and Mary Jane get involved. Venom, decides that killing Spider-Man would make killing Jonah a little easier so they topple the infrastructure and bury Spider-Man underneath a mess of concrete and girders. Smith and Mary Jane get closer. Jonah attempts to bargain for his life. Spider-Man emerges from the rubble just as Mary Jane attacks Venom with the strobe light. Venom, immune to the flash, chokes Mary Jane sending Spider-Man into a rage. Spider-Man stops short of killing Venom. Venom threatens to (well more or less says he will) let the world know about Peter's alter ego. Spider-Man pulls a chunk of concrete from the high-rise which falls then detonates smoldering dynamite behind Venom. The fire and concussion from blast levels Venom allowing Spider-Man to escape.

In the end, Peter is left with Mary Jane, Jonah is left without a story and Eddie is left with agent Smith and amnesia.

General Comments

Spider-Man: The Venom Agenda is a halfway decent story considering it is a one-shot transition piece to close the Venom limited series and turn the symbiotic duo back into bad guys again. Lucky for us, this is only a one-shot so Larry Hama's story works. Larry's Venom three-part stories usually go from good to bad to acceptable, which in this case leaves us with the good and acceptable. When comparing Spider-Man and Venom fights, this is probably one the best in the action category. There were a couple of items I didn't like. The rapid disappearance of Peter then appearance of Spider-Man in Jonah's office coupled with Spider-Man's "little secret" should have lit a candle of deductive reasoning in Jonah's noggin. Mary Jane also refers to Spider-Man as Peter in front of one of the government agents but nothing is made of it. The one thing I did like was the fact that Spider-Man's blows had no effect on Venom; finally some realism. One thing I've always hated about all previous books (Spider-Man and Venom) is the fact that Eddie's symbiote can stop bullets but can feel punches.

On the art part, the detailed illustrations are a welcome sight compared to some of the crap I've seen in the Spider-Man and Venom titles recently. It's nice to see Tom Lyle putting pencil to paper again for the web-slinger and Venom. Robert Jones (inks) and Steve Oliff finish off the scenes with definition and color albeit typical of most other (Marvel) titles.

Overall Rating

I might be a little generous with four webs but it is the holiday season (grin) and it's better than some of the stuff I have seen here of late.